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Guttate Psoriasis - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


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Guttate psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that often starts in childhood or young adulthood. It is characterized by small round lesions and often occurring after a streptococcal infection. The word guttate is derived from the Latin word gutta, meaning drop. Usually there is a fine scale on the droplike lesion that is much finer than the scales in plaque psoriasis, which is the most common type of psoriasis. Guttate Psoriasis can occur to any person and at any age, but is more common in people of 20 years of age, and it affects both men and women equally, but is more common in fair skinned people. Guttate Psoriasis are due to bacterial infection such as strep throat, especially in younger patients. Some cases go away without treatment in a few weeks, while many cases are more persistent and require treatment. Guttate psoriasis often comes on quite suddenly. A variety of conditions have been known to bring on an attack of guttate psoriasis, including upper respiratory infections, streptoccocal infections, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin and the administration of certain drugs.

Guttate psoriasis goes away in a few weeks without treatment. Mild cases are usually treated at home. The diagnosis of guttate psoriasis is made by the combination of history, clinical appearance of the rash, and evidence for preceding infection. Guttate psoriasis is not contagious and may be inherited. Guttate psoriasis usually occurs on the trunk, arms, or legs. However, it may cover a large portion of the body. In rare cases, a patient may have only a few lesions scattered around the body. For adult plaque psoriasis patients, the development of guttate psoriasis may be a sign of another flare-up of the disease. Treatment is focused on control of the symptoms and prevention of secondary infections. It varies with the extent and severity of the disorder. If an infection can be identified, it should be treated with appropriate antibiotics.

Causes of Guttate psoriasis

Psoriasis seems to be an inherited disorder, and it appears to be related to the immune. Guttate psoriasis may be inherited. Just what causes T cells to malfunction in people with psoriasis isn't entirely clear, although researchers think genetic and environmental factors both play a role. Those with a family history of psoriasis have an increased chance of having the disease. Medications, viral or bacterial infections, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of sunlight, overexposure to sunlight, stress, cold climate, and frequent friction on the skin are also associated with flare-ups of psoriasis.

Common causes and risk factors of Guttate psoriasis:

  • Genetic Predisposition.
  • A family history of psoriasis.
  • Certain medicines, including lithium salt and beta blockers.
  • Mild injuries to the skin such as abrasions.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Any abnormality in the immune system.

Signs and Symptoms of Guttate psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is characterised by multiple tiny areas of psoriasis that tend to affect most of the body. Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission. In most cases, however, the disease eventually returns. Lesions are usually concentrated around the trunk and upper arms and thighs. Face, ears and scalp are also commonly affected but the lesions may be very faint and quickly disappear in these areas. Occasionally there may be only a few scattered lesions in total. The spots usually occur on the arms, legs, and middle of the body, but may appear in other body areas.

Sign and symptoms may include the following :

  • The dark patches usually starts on the trunk, arms, or legs and sometimes spreads to the face, ears, or scalp.
  • Nail changes, such as pits and ridges.
  • Skin lesion are usually red, which shows discrete teardrop - shaped patches of skin.
  • Joint pains and Itching.

Treatment for Guttate psoriasis

Treatment is focused on control of the symptoms and prevention of secondary infections. It varies with the extent and severity of the disorder. Sunlight may help your symptoms go away. Be careful not to get sunburn. Some people may choose to have phototherapy. Phototherapy is a medical procedure in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light. Moisturizers are considered the preferred treatment for guttate psoriasis. However, people often find it tedious to apply topical preparations to the multiple small "drops" on their skin.

Treatment may include:

  • Retinoids are very helpful in treating skin infections like guttate psoriasis.
  • Topical agents including mild topical steroids, coal tar and calcipotriol are very beneficial to get relief from joints pain.
  • The streptococcal infection can be removed by using antibiotics.
  • Oral or injected immunosuppressive medications, such as corticosteroids or methotrexate may be used in curing guttate psoriasis fast.